Early Years Foundation Stage Policy and Guidelines

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1 St. James Primary School Church of England Academy Early Years Foundation Stage Policy and Guidelines Revised by: Head, Staff & Governors Date: September 2013 Next Review: July 2015 or sooner if regulations/circumstances change 1

2 Early Years Foundation Stage Policy and Guidelines Purpose Every child deserves the best possible start in life and support to fulfill their potential. A child s experience in the early years has a major impact on their future life chances. A secure, safe and happy childhood is important in its own right, and it provides the foundation for children to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up. EYFS 2008 The purpose of this policy is to communicate our philosophy, aims, principles and ethos in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) at St James CE Primary. Our philosophy is based on nurturing life- long learners by valuing the individual child and supporting them in developing their creativity and social skills. We believe that a child with high selfesteem can flourish in education and life. As a Church of England school our daily actions and decisions will be underpinned by Christian values. Early Years Mission statement At St James we believe that every child deserves the best possible start to their school life. We believe that in the Foundation Stage, children learn best through play based activities and first-hand experience. Children joining our school have already learnt a great deal and the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum at St James School is based upon the principles of building upon what the children already know and can do within a rich and stimulating learning environment. We aim to provide a broad and balanced curriculum which will enable each child to develop emotionally, socially, physically, creatively, and intellectually to their full potential and at their own pace. The content of the curriculum is matched to the children s needs and provides opportunities for learning both indoors and outdoors. It offers a structure for learning that has a range of starting points, ensuring that no child is excluded or disadvantaged. Each child is unique and is valued as an individual. Welfare Children learn best when they are healthy, safe and secure, when their individual needs are met and when they have positive relationships with the adults caring for them. EYFS 2008 It is important to us that all children in the Academy are safe. We aim to educate children on boundaries, rules and limits and to help them understand why these exist. We provide children with choices to help them develop this important life skill. Children 2

3 should be allowed to take risks, but need to be taught how to recognise and avoid hazards. We aim to protect the physical and psychological well- being of all children. At St James CE Primary we understand that we are legally required to comply with certain welfare requirements as stated in the Statutory Framework for EYFS. We understand that we are required to: Promote the welfare of children. Promote good health, preventing the spread of infection and taking appropriate action when children are ill. Manage behaviour effectively in a manner appropriate for the children s stage of development and individual needs. Ensure all adults who look after the children or who have unsupervised access to them are suitable to do so. ensure that the premises, furniture and equipment is safe and suitable for purpose Ensure that every child receives enjoyable and challenging learning and development experiences tailored to meet their needs. Maintain records, policies and procedures required for safe efficient management of the setting and to meet the needs of the children. Inclusion We value the diversity of individuals within the Academy and do not discriminate against children because of differences. All children at the Academy are treated fairly regardless of race, religion or abilities. All children and their families are valued within our Academy. We believe that all our children matter. We give our children every opportunity to achieve their best. We do this by taking account of our children s range of life experiences when planning for their learning. In the EYFS we set realistic and challenging expectations that meet the needs of our children. We achieve this by planning to meet the needs of boys and girls, children with special educational needs, children who are more able, children with disabilities, children from all social and cultural backgrounds, children of different ethnic groups and those from diverse linguistic backgrounds. We meet the needs of all our children through: planning opportunities that build upon and extend children s knowledge, experience and interests, and develop their self-esteem and confidence; using a wide range of teaching strategies based on children s learning needs; providing a wide range of opportunities to motivate and support children and to help them to learn effectively; providing a safe and supportive learning environment in which the contribution of all children is valued; using resources which reflect diversity and are free from discrimination and stereotyping; 3

4 planning challenging activities for children whose ability and understanding are in advance of their language and communication skills; Monitoring children s progress and taking action to provide support as necessary. The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum Effective practice in the EYFS is built on four guiding themes. These provide a context for the requirements and describe how practitioners should support the development, learning and care of young children. The themes are each broken down into four commitments describing how the principles can be put into practice. Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. The commitments are focused around development; inclusion; safety; health and well-being. Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships. The commitments are focused around respect; partnership with parent/carers; supporting learning; and the role of the key person. Children learn and develop well in enabling environments in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong relationship between practitioners and parents and carers. The commitments are focused around observation, assessment and planning; support for every child; the learning environment; and the wider context transitions, continuity, and multi-agency working. Learning and Development recognises that children develop and learn in different ways and at different rates, and that all areas of learning and development are equally important and inter-connected. There are seven main areas of learning, ensuring there is breadth and balance to the children s curriculum. Three areas are particularly important for igniting children s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, make relationships and thrive. These are the prime areas: - Communication and language - Physical development Personal, social and emotional development There are also four specific areas, through which the prime areas are strengthened and applied. These are: - Literacy - Mathematics - Understanding the world - Expressive arts and design. 4

5 The experiences that our children have often enable them to develop a number of competencies, skills and concepts across several areas of learning. None of the areas of learning can be delivered in isolation from the others; they are equally important and depend upon each other to support a rounded approach to the development of each child. The Early Learning Goals provide the basis for planning throughout the Early Years Foundation Stage. Our medium term planning is completed through projects and identifies the intended learning outcomes for children working towards the Early Learning Goals. These plans are used by the teacher as a guide for weekly planning; however the teacher may alter these plans in response to the needs, achievements and interests of the children. Play in the Early Years Foundation Stage Through play our children explore and develop learning experiences, which help them make sense of the world. They practise and build up ideas, and learn how to control themselves and understand the need for rules. Children are given the opportunities to explore and discover within a safe and supported environment. It is a EYFS statutory requirement that providers must ensure that there is a balance of adult led and child initiated activities, delivered through indoor and outdoor play. The children have the opportunity to think creatively alongside other children as well as on their own. They communicate with others as they investigate and solve problems. They express fears or re-live anxious experiences in controlled and safe situations. The children are involved with both group and individual play, some initiated by adults, some by the children. They learn through being active learners working with a wide range of resources. Through play children will develop intellectually, creatively, physically, socially and emotionally. It gives children the opportunity to take risks and make mistakes. At St James play in EYFS is an integral part of learning. When planned effectively we believe it helps to develop the whole person, motivation is intrinsic and children experience high levels of success. The types of play offered will be appropriate to the individual children s needs and include:- Child initiated-where the child has complete decision making and directional control of the play. Child led-where the child makes their own decisions about the kind and outcomes of the play from a given range. Adult led adult interacts with the play to influence and guide its outcome. Adult directed- where the child engages in activities set up by the adult. 5

6 Teaching and Learning Teaching methods in EYFS will accommodate the different ways children learn by planning for the same learning objective in a range of different ways. These include: A multi-sensory practical approach as a starting point, building on the concrete rather than the abstract. Praise and encouragement to establish an ethos in which individual achievements are valued. A balance of groupings to include whole class, small collaborative groups, peer partner, individual, ability and mixed ability as appropriate. A balance of child led and adult led activities and direct teaching, which includes modeling expectations Classroom assistants or other adults (when available) will be planned for to support groups and/or individuals where appropriate. Both TA s and teachers are regarded in the light of Early Years practitioners and will lead groups, make observations or engage in child led or child initiated activities as appropriate. The EYFS builds on what children already know, understand and can do. It aims to provide learning based on first hand experiences and it values parent/carers as the child s first continuing educator. It enables the teachers to meet the needs of all children including those working at a level that exceeds the requirements of the early Learning Goals. The Learning Environment The EYFS classroom is organised to allow children to explore and learn securely and safely. There are areas where the children can be active, be quiet and rest. The classroom is set up in learning areas, where children are able to find and locate equipment and resources independently. Within the classroom resources are clearly labeled with words and pictures in order to promote children s independence. Systems and routines are in place to provide safety and security, and to develop confidence and high self- esteem. The children also have daily access to an outdoor area with opportunities for doing things in different ways and on different scales than when indoors. It offers the children the chance to explore, use their senses and be physically active and exuberant. Assessment We make regular assessments of children s learning, and we use this information to ensure that future planning reflects identified needs. Assessment in the EYFS is ongoing and is an integral part of the learning and development process. The staff make systematic observations and assessments of each child s achievements, interests and attitudes to learning. The observations and assessments are used to identify learning priorities and plan the next stages in the learning experiences for the child. The observations are then matched to the early learning goals and are recorded as part of the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile. The Early Years teachers have termly Year group meetings with Senior Management, the results are analysed and used to identify 6

7 patterns of attainment within the cohort. We use this information to modify the teaching programme for individual children and groups of children. We keep a Learning Journal for each child held on the 2build a profile program on the ipad which contains examples of work, observations and photographs in all areas of learning. These inform our judgments for the end of year Early Years Foundation Stage results. Parent/carers as Partners We recognise that parent/carers are children s first and most enduring educators and we value the contribution they make. We recognise the role that parent/carers have played, and their future role, in educating the children. We do this through: Home visits with a chance to talk to the child and parents on a 1-1 basis in the Autumn Term before the children start school; Parents fill in a variety of information sheets about their child, including details of interests, medical problems etc. Visiting all the children in their pre-academy setting; Inviting all parent/carers to an induction meeting in the Summer term prior to their child starting Academy in the September; Asking for parent feedback on our transition programme in order to improve it; Offering parent/carers regular opportunities to talk about their child s progress. Encouraging parent/carers to talk to the child s teacher if there are any concerns. There is a formal meeting for parent/carers in the Autumn and Spring terms at which the teacher and the parent discuss the child s progress in private. Parent/carers receive a report on their child s attainment and progress at the end of the Academy year; Meetings for parents to explain the way in which we work in Reception at the start of the school year; A reading workshop in the Autumn term; Parents can add their own observations and records of achievement to the learning journals through the form of WOW cards. We believe every child is unique, a competent learner from birth and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured. We are committed to developing positive relationships so our children learn to be strong and independent from a base of loving secure relationships with parents or their key person. We aim to provide enabling environments for all our children which play a key role in supporting and extending children s development and learning. We believe children learn in different ways and at different rates and that all areas of learning and development are equally important and interconnected. Cole J and Nelson A (2008), Planning for Quality in the Early Years. 7

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